In deciding to watch this documentary it doesn’t matters greatly if you support capital punishment or oppose it. This is a fairly balanced analysis of the death penalty in America with arguments and testimonies more representative of the two sides overall than, generally, you find in debates of this issue. Yes, there is an editorial viewpoint, but it’s not placed in your face with the subtleness of a Mack Sennett pie.
The sweeping grant of clemency in 2003 by former Illinois Governor George Ryan to that states death row inmates is used by the filmmakers as their narrative framing device, but Ryan is not the film’s hero and there is little time or footage spent on the deliberations leading to his ruling.
In truth, Deadline does not seek to depict a historical episode, first laying out its details then expounding on their roots. Instead it provides the viewer a touchstone upon which to test the values of their own beliefs. Do not dismiss such an opportunity out of hand; a film that challenges its audience is a rare thing. Of course individuals with the courage of his or her convictions willing to take up such a challenge are rarer still.
Directors: Katy Chevigny, Kirsten Johnson
Producers: Dallas Brennan, Katy Chevigny
Distributors: Big Mouth Productions
Available for streaming on Amazon Instant Video and other On Line vendors.